After Russ Wise told of the "stuffing" craze of years past, when youngsters would see how many could fit in a phone booth (remember those?) or a Volkswagen, Don Garland had this memory:

"When I was at Louisiana Tech in the early ‘70s, the sororities had a VW Beetle stuffing contest.

"One sorority was really doing well, with the Bug almost completely full. Then the girls in the back starting screaming in panic, and they all exited quicker than you would think possible.

"When they got out, smoke was coming from the back. Apparently the battery was under the back seat, and the weight of so many girls pushed the metal seat frame into the battery. It shorted, causing the seat cushion to smolder.

"I think that was the last time they did that."

Initial reaction

The story of a husband using a code word to tell his wife he loves her brought this from Edie Bender:

"Ralph and I have a code word, too. He says to me 'RAU,' meaning 'Right as usual.'"

Fact checking

After I questioned Jacob Scardina's story about ordering hunting dogs from Sears, I received this terse reply:

"Yep! That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it."

Beats leftover candy

Shirley Pittman responds to our seminar on holiday dishes:

"When I was a child in the Frozen Nawth (Indiana), we absolutely had a standard menu for Halloween.

"Every party served powdered-sugar donuts and apple cider. Adults might have hard or hot spiced cider, but always donuts."

Ancient eats

Kay Harrison, going through old cookbooks before tossing them, came across a recipe for "Scripture Cake" in a 1975 cookbook from the Gonzales, Texas, Future Homemakers of America.

It uses ingredients based on Bible verses, and is far too long to print here.

There's also this one, from a 1972 Progressive Farmer magazine:

"Under 'Oldtime [sic] Foods' was a recipe for 'Cush.'"

Kay isn't sure it's related to Cajun cush-cush, but here are the ingredients: "3 cups broken up corn bread, 2 cups broken up biscuits, meat drippings, onion, egg, milk, sage."

"Why?" asks Kay, which I regard as a very good question indeed.

Hospital housing

Sidney LeJeune, who gave us his ideas for turning Lee Circle in New Orleans to "Lis Circle" (as in fleur-de-lis) to honor noteworthy citizens, turns his attention to the old Charity Hospital building, shuttered since Hurricane Katrina:

"Much debate is going on about the future use for Charity Hospital. The building is massive and could be divided into several sections.

"What is critically needed are low-income units for the minimum wage working force that is the backbone of the restaurant, casino and tourism industry.

"All the old hospital rooms have bathrooms, and could be made into small efficiency apartments. This would put the labor force within walking distance of their jobs.

"Another section could be used for homeless mothers and their children…

"We don't need more million dollar condos."

Special People Dept.

  • Melvin Young celebrates his 90th birthday on Friday, Nov. 9. He is a World War II Army veteran.
  • Malcolm "Mac" and Joyce Duet, of Thibodaux, celebrate their 60th anniversary on Friday, Nov. 9.

Expensive comment

One more LSU-Alabama football story, from James Clary Jr., of Baton Rouge:

He recalls the time in 1983 when "my buddy, Chris Wall, rendered the venerable Flora-Bama bar as silent as a tomb."

That fall, Coach Jerry Stovall's Tigers had beaten Bear Bryant's Crimson Tide 20-10 to end an 11-year winning streak by Alabama. In January of 1983, Bear Bryant retired, and died on Jan. 26 of that year.

"That spring, only a few months after Bear's passing, a tribe of my buddies and I were in the Flora-Bama, which was packed with Alabama fans."

When Chris loudly suggested that losing to LSU had hastened Bear's death, "the music stopped; all conversation stopped."

Realizing the danger, James says the LSU group "offered to buy rounds in the memory of The Bear. We were all young and basically broke — but not nearly as broke as we ended up being once we were able to depart the Flora-Bama without being tarred and feathered."

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.